This is the recipe for a Cottage Loaf from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake.
Of course, my version looks nothing as professional as the original but the taste is to die for. If you like a light airy bread with a thin crust, all you need is a dab of butter to transport you to bread heaven.
500 grams strong white bread flour, a little more for dusting
10 grams salt
10 grams yeast
30 grams unsalted butter, softened
330 mils cool water
Oil for kneading
1. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour with the salt on one side and yeast on the other. Make a well in the centre and add in the softened butter and two thirds of the water. Mix well. Adding a little water at a time continue to mix just until the dough comes together. You want a soft loose dough but not too wet. You may not need all the water.
2. Oil a large pan or baking sheet. Place the dough on it and knead for about 10 minutes until you get a smooth even looking dough. Put this into a large oiled bowl. Cover loosely with cling film allowing the dough enough space to double its size. This can take at least an hour but you could leave the dough to rise for 2-3 hours too.
3. Dust your pan or baking sheet with some flour. Place the dough on the pan. Fold it on itself a few times, massaging the dough to rid it of as much air as possible. When you fold it self for the last time, place the seam side down and divide into two balls, one twice as big as the other. Smooth the larger ball with your palms in an up and down movement shaping it into an even ball and tucking the edges under it as much as possible. Repeat this with the smaller ball. Then place the smaller ball on top of the larger one.
4. Dust your index finger with flour and push it right down the centre through both balls. Do this twice. Then lift the loaf carefully and make vertical cuts with sharp knife across the top and bottom balls.
5. Place the loaf on a baking tray lined with paper. Again, cover with cling film very gently and ensure that you leave enough space for this loaf to double in size. This takes an hour.
6. Heat your oven to Gas 5 (375 F or 190 C). Fill a pan with hot water and place at the bottom of the oven. Put the loaf in the oven to bake for about 35 minutes. It should be golden to look at and sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack so that the bottom doesn’t turn soggy.
Enjoy fresh. I’m not sure how long this keeps. If it lasts beyond tomorrow, I’ll update these notes.